Wallace calls for open meetings on hospital closures

Staff Report 

State Rep. Litesa Wallace, D-Rockford, has called for more transparency and community input regarding the closure of medical facilities.

Wallace last month introduced House Bill 4964 requiring the Illinois Health Facilities and Services Review Board to publish a legal notice in the affected community’s newspaper for five consecutive days.

The bill also has a public meeting requirement, something the current statute does not address.

“Under current state law, a hospital can choose to close its doors with little review and scrutiny from those that would be affected,” Wallace said in a statement. “While hospitals in my district and across the state are private entities, they play an instrumental public role. In the event of a proposed closing, residents deserve to have their voices heard.”

The bill came in response to MercyRockford’s proposed plan to phase out services at its west side Rockford Memorial facility in favor of a new hospital campus on East Riverside Boulevard.

“Over the past few months, I have heard from concerned residents about the future of our local hospital network as MercyRockford plans for a new campus,” Wallace said. “I believe in the commitments that have been made to our community, but also wanted to take a closer look at how our laws can allow greater resident input. This bill is an effort to ensure proper, transparent communication between healthcare providers, the state and those they serve.”

The bill is currently being reviewed by the House Human Services Committee.

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